Injury-hit India should start with win

Updated on Sep 11, 2004 03:20 PM IST

Despite Balaji's late withdrawal, India should still beat World Cup semi-finalists Kenya today.

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PTI | ByReuters, London

India should beat World Cup semi-finalists Kenya in their opening ICC Champions Trophy clash in Southampton on Saturday despite the late withdrawal of seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji.

The joint-holders, already without the injured Sachin Tendulkar, lost Balaji to an abdominal complaint on Saturday and immediately replaced him with Amit Bhandari.

India have struggled in their preparations for the tournament, losing to Pakistan and England twice. But the 23-run win over England in the last match of the series showed there is still life without Tendulkar.

Kenya captain Steve Tikolo is quietly confident his team can emulate their upset victories over Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the last World Cup.

"Obviously we are looking forward to it. We are positive and have come here to compete," he told Reuters. "With cricket anything can happen on a given day."

Tikolo blasted the International Cricket Council on Friday for its treatment of Kenya after their World Cup performance.

"You need to play more to keep up with the best. With a lack of games Kenya's future doesn't look good," he said.

"Our last tournament was last year in April - that's about 17 months without a single one-dayer. We really feel disappointed. We're not getting any respect."

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